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Rockland shelter opening postponed for a year

Nov 25, 2019

Rockland — A proposed overnight shelter that was to operate at the Flanagan Community Center  during the winter will not happen this year.

The Community Emergency Shelter Committee said, however, in a news release that it remains committed to the project which now expects to open in December 2020.

"The Committee's decision to postpone was a difficult one, as the pilot project has received considerable support throughout the community, including the Knox County Homeless Coalition, the PenBay YMCA, the City of Rockland, the Rockland Police Department, faith-based organizations, and community leaders. Recent publicity about the project has also led to an increase in donations and interest in volunteering," the Committee stated in a news release.

“We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful, supportive community -- the response so far from individuals and partner organizations has been incredibly encouraging. We can’t thank everyone enough,” committee member Rev. Peter Jenks of The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist in Thomaston said in the news release.

The two primary reasons for postponing the project are that the Committee has not yet met its fundraising or volunteer recruitment goals.

As of Oct. 30, the Committee said it raised more than $30,000 of a $70,000 goal to fund primarily staffing expenses, as well as services and materials needed to launch the project.

The shelter will be more than just a place to sleep, according to the Committee. The shelter will be a point of entry for community members to receive additional services from area agencies. While certain grant requests are pending, the Committee said it "lacks the minimal resources needed to plan and launch a safe, thoughtful program this winter."

The shelter would have operate at night when the recreation center is typically closed.

Despite the delay, the Committee said it remains firmly committed to the original goal: to pilot a four-month temporary, emergency shelter during the winter months. All funds received this year will be applied to next year’s pilot, with permission from the donors.

“We know that there is considerable need in the community for this service, as we see families and individuals come forward each week requesting shelter and support. We are not giving up on this project, just setting realistic expectations to plan for 2020,” committee member Rev. Wendy Anderson of Nativity Lutheran Church in Rockport said in the news release.

The Committee will focus the next nine months on fundraising and recruiting volunteers, as well as fine-tuning protocols for the operations of the shelter. Interested community members are encouraged to email to learn more about volunteering. Checks can be mailed to: Emergency Shelter Pilot, PO Box 1255, Rockland, ME, 04841, payable to “Knox County Homeless Coalition” and note: “Emergency Shelter Pilot Fund.”

KCHC is acting as the fiscal sponsor for this pilot. A GoFundMe Charity page has also been set up – visit to make a secure, tax-deductible credit card contribution.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Nov 27, 2019 20:22

This is a PLUS for Rockland.  Most of us bury our heads in the sand or turn away when we see or here of someone that needs a warm safe place to stay in the winter.  There are those out there that have a job but cannot make ends meet.  This is an awesome project.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 27, 2019 12:41

I remember my friends who lived in Texas awhile said that those who applied for welfare were given apartments and jobs immediately and learned to work and pay their own way with State help. Only a few months of supplemental "town" support. I loved this concept. Sometimes charity takes on a life of it's own and the recipient seems to expect the handout without working.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 25, 2019 15:54

Am very supportive of this undertaking yet understand it has to be done right if it is going to succeed. This is a different culture we live in and they need to be well prepared. Kudos to those tho are working to bring this together.

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